Consulting Firm Makes Open Source Acquisition

In brief: Arthur D. Little acquires Cutter Consortium and Presans to expand open consulting capabilities

Arthur D. Little (ADL) today announced the acquisitions of Cutter Consortium, a business technology research company based in the US, and Presans, a leading player in industrial open innovation based in France. By combining its own expertise with an existing community of independent experts, ADL expands its consulting ecosystem to establish a next-generation value proposition powered by open consulting and open problem solving.

Now, at first, I suffered from a bit of cognitive dissonance. It’s difficult to imagine these large consulting firms who make a living from charging high prices for custom coding. Then I remembered what a friend with experience at this level told me–open source is good for the community, but the large companies benefit, too. You see, they get in return thousands of hours of free software development by the community. I guess you could say it’s a “win-win-win” situation.

Acquired companies described 

Cutter Consortium helps organizations navigate digital disruption of business models and leverage emerging technologies for competitive advantage and mission success. Through its research, consulting, training, and executive education – all delivered by globally recognized thought leaders – Cutter delivers innovative solutions to its thousands of clients worldwide. Cutter’s experts have done the ground-breaking work in areas ranging from digital architectures to digital tech, enterprise agility to data analytics, and digital leadership to sustainable innovation. At the heart of its business is a membership service that gives clients valuable access to its experts and their insight. 

Presans is a leading data-driven platform dedicated to industrial open innovation and open problem solving. Thanks to cutting-edge technology based on big data and artificial intelligence, as well as a team of fellows (former research and innovation executives) with in-depth knowledge in innovation, Presans leverages a network of over 6 million experts worldwide. Presans provides a variety of high-end open innovation services, contributing to the acceleration of decision-making and removal of scientific and technological roadblocks. Presans has worked for 50+ international industrial groups and delivered more than 100 innovation projects in Europe, the US and the Middle East.

Supporting quotes

“Arthur D. Little applies an ‘open consulting’ and ‘open problem solving’ approach and brings the best global experts to every assignment to complement its internal strengths,” comments Ignacio García Alves, Chairman and CEO of Arthur D. Little. “We believe the future is open consulting. With the double acquisition of Cutter and Presans, we are able to expand our open consulting ecosystem and open problem solving capabilities, offering access to experts, premium insight and a differentiated experience for our clients, in a seamless way.”

“The Cutter team felt an instant synergy with our colleagues at ADL. We share a focus on innovation, which, in ADL’s case, goes back to its roots, and an emphasis on providing custom, leading-edge solutions. Moreover, ADL’s more than 40 offices in 30 countries has given Cutter an enhanced ability to assist its clients worldwide,” says Karen Coburn, CEO of Cutter Consortium

“Since its inception at the École Polytechnique’s start-up incubator, Presans has always engaged with the best experts in the world, mainly to help its customers solve complex technical problems,” says Albert Meige, Founder of Presans. “Presans now addresses more and more problems at the crossroads of strategy consulting and scientific & technical expertise. The time had therefore come for Presans to strengthen itself by joining forces with Arthur D Little.”

Benefits

Together with Cutter and Presans, ADL reinforces its position on digital and information technologies, as well as industrial innovation, particularly in breakthrough innovation and convergence problem solving. In addition, through the acquisition of the technological platform of Presans, ADL is accelerating its investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop state-of-the-art offerings for its clients.

Cutter Consortium and Presans will continue to operate under their current brands with the same management teams, while benefiting from ADL’s capabilities, investment, and global exposure.

EdgeX Foundry Hits Milestone Downloads and Simplified Deployment

I have followed the Development of EdgeX Foundry since right after its inception talking with many of the founders at Hannover Messe three years ago. That’s when Dell (now Dell EMC) was developing an IoT and Edge Computing group—since disbanded. Dell was leading the charge for an open source platform as a way to build an ecosystem for providing value to customers and selling product.

EdgeX has come a long way. Here is the latest information in brief:

  • EdgeX’s sixth release (Geneva) offers more scalable and secure solutions to move more data faster from multiple edge devices to cloud, enterprise and on-premises applications.
  • As one of LF Edge’s Stage 3 Projects, EdgeX Foundry is seeing increased community growth and adoption and deployments.
  • New LF Edge project Open Horizon is building an integration project that will demonstrate automated delivery and lifecycle management of EdgeX Foundry as a containerized application.

EdgeX Foundry, a project under the LF Edge umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for IoT edge computing independent of connectivity protocol, hardware, operating system, applications or cloud, today announced a major milestone of hitting 5 million container downloads and the availability of its “Geneva” release. This release offers more robust security, optimized analytics, and secure connectivity for multiple devices.

“EdgeX Foundry is committed to developing an open IoT platform for edge-related applications and shows no signs of slowing down the momentum,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “As one of the Stage 3 projects under LF Edge, EdgeX Foundry is a clear example of how member collaboration and diversity are the keys to creating an interoperable open source framework across IoT, Enterprise, Cloud and Telco Edge.”

Launched in April 2017, and now part of the LF Edge umbrella, EdgeX Foundry is an open source, loosely-coupled microservices framework that provides the choice to plug and play from a growing ecosystem of available third-party offerings or to augment proprietary innovations. With a focus on the IoT Edge, EdgeX simplifies the process to design, develop and deploy solutions across industrial, enterprise, and consumer applications.

Currently, there are more than 170 unique contributors to the project and EdgeX Foundry averages one million container downloads a month, with a total of 5 million reached last month, and rising.

“The massive volume of devices coming online represents a huge opportunity for innovation and is making edge computing a necessity,” said Keith Steele, EdgeX Foundry Chair of the Technical Steering Committee. “With at least 50% of data being stored, processed and analyzed at the edge we need an open, cloud-native edge ecosystem enabled by EdgeX to minimize reinvention and facilitate building and deploying distributed, interoperable applications from the edge to the cloud. In 3 short years, EdgeX has achieved incredible global momentum and is now being designed into IOT systems and product roadmaps.”

The Geneva Release

As the sixth release in the EdgeX Foundry roadmap, Geneva offers simplified deployment, optimized analytics, secure connectivity for multiple devices and more robust security. Key features include:

  • Automate on-boarding: simplify, scale and quicken connection of devices by allowing automatic provisioning of devices
  • Improved Performance: A new rules engine that is written in Go for faster performance, a smaller footprint and more memory
  • Connectivity: Improved bandwidth utilization and efficiency through use of new batch and send capabilities provided in the App Functions SDK
  • Secure Authentication: Store and use/authenticate secrets to connect with cloud providers
  • Testing: New integration and backward compatibility testing along with enhanced security and blackbox testing

EdgeX Foundry works closely with several of the other LF Edge projects such as Akraino Edge Stack and new project Open Horizon. During this release cycle, EdgeX was made to work under the Akraino Edge Lightweight IOT (ELIOT) Blueprint and tested under the Akraino Community Lab.

Launched last month, Open Horizon is a platform for managing the service software lifecycle of containerized workloads and related machine learning assets. Open Horizon is building an integration project that will demonstrate delivery and management of EdgeX Foundry as a containerized solution in stages, beginning with a single deployable unit and then progressing to a more modular set of services and alternate delivery targets.

Support from Contributing Members and Users of EdgeX Foundry:

“To further enhance use in production environments, EdgeX Foundry’s Geneva release brings simplified deployments and improved security,” said Tony Espy, Technical Architect at Canonical. “With EdgeX available as a snap, this aligns to the fundamentals of snaps’ core principles which allow developers to benefit from confinement and transactional updates to ensure deployments are secure and with minimal need for manual intervention. As the EdgeX ecosystem continues to see strong traction, we look forward to continuing our contribution to building an open, interoperable framework for edge computing.”

“EdgeX Foundry’s middleware solution is an important component of an open, vendor-neutral pipeline connecting IoT devices and their data to analytics and data management at the on-premise edge,” said Joe Pearson, Engineering Strategy & Innovation Leader, Edge Computing, IBM. “This latest release underscores the importance of working within LF Edge to encourage interoperability as we build a comprehensive open edge computing framework, beginning with Open Horizon.”

“With the evolution of IoT and edge computing, there is a growing realization to deploy and run compute engines near the data source in a truly globally distributed manner. This architecture requires running intelligent AI-based functionality at the edge while processing a significant amount of data at high-throughput and low latency on small form-factor devices,” said Yiftach Shoolman, CTO and co-founder at Redis Labs. “EdgeX Foundry with Redis as the primary data store provides an open-source data platform to meet these expectations by combining in-memory data processing with modern data-models, and can be extended with a serverless engine and AI-serving platform.”

About the Linux Foundation

Founded in 2000, the Linux Foundation is supported by more than 1,000 members and is the world’s leading home for collaboration on open source software, open standards, open data, and open hardware. Linux Foundation’s projects are critical to the world’s infrastructure including Linux, Kubernetes, Node.js, and more. The Linux Foundation’s methodology focuses on leveraging best practices and addressing the needs of contributors, users and solution providers to create sustainable models for open collaboration.

Pandemic Becoming a Trigger for Certain Enterprises to Accelerate Transformation

We only need look out the window to understand that the current situation with keeping people apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has slowed commerce and manufacturing to a crawl.

Wind River surveyed a set of executives in China and the US to see what they think the impact of the slowdown and then recovery will be. There are many similarities in outlook, although there are some differences. Wind River attributes most of the difference to the timing of the survey. China was beginning to come out from the shutdown, while the US was in the midst of it.

This is an IT-oriented report, but it is also quite relevant to us all given that operations and information areas are working ever more closely aligned.

[Note for my OT readers: DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and information-technology operations (Ops) which aims to shorten the systems development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality.]

[Note 2: A subset of DevOps relating specifically to data is called DataOps. See my writing on Hitachi Vantara and HighByte for more on this. This is relatively recent.]

Highlights

  • More than 1 in 3 executives in both the U.S. and China are seeing COVID-19’s impact as impetus to digitally transform their businesses
  • COVID-19 is influencing which technologies will receive increased attention, with enterprises desiring transformation placing 50%+ extra focus on investment in areas such as 5G, containers, and cloud-native technologies.
  • 75% of C-suite, IoT, and DevOps leaders are modifying corporate strategies due to COVID-19.

Wind River, a deliverer of software for the intelligent edge, has issued new research investigating how technology executives—specifically, C-suite leaders and senior executives in areas such as IoT, DevOps, security, and embedded development—from both the U.S. and China are realigning their focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their insights are embodied in the Wind River commissioned report titled “COVID-19 and Corporate Strategies in the U.S. and China: A Seismic Event Demanding Change and Action from Top Executives.”

Seismic events can disrupt our focus and thinking and force reassessment of drivers of future business success. The current COVID-19 pandemic is one of those major events producing a worldwide impact, especially given its reverberations on the two largest global economies, the U.S. and China.

“Prior to the pandemic, the vast majority of corporations were looking toward advancing their digital transformation. However, we’ve entered a different landscape that is triggering leaders in DevOps and IoT development to make profound decisions about the speed and nature of their technology investments,” said Kevin Dallas, president and chief executive officer, Wind River. “As we’ve seen from our study, in this COVID-19–shocked world, those most optimistic about the future of their business and the direction of their technology and development investments are the enterprises viewing this as a time to accelerate and even change the nature of that transformation.”

Looking inside the minds of technology executives in major sectors such as telecommunications, healthcare, automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing/industrial provides a view into how leaders are redirecting their focus and accelerating or delaying investments. The report surveyed 400 senior-level technology executives from the U.S. and China at enterprises with revenues ranging from $100 million to $1 billion.

With COVID-19–related challenges creating new pressures, enterprises are rapidly falling into the categories of simply surviving, pivoting to adapt to new realities, or doing nothing. While the U.S. and China are in different phases of the pandemic, in several aspects the responses from each country split in similar ways. More than 1 in 3 executives—39% of U.S. and 43% of Chinese leaders—are focusing on surviving this crisis, while 35% in the U.S. and 33% in China are spurred to make a transformation due to COVID-19.

The enterprises focused on transforming have a much higher propensity to accelerate key technology investments compared to those who are merely surviving. Those with a desire to digitally transform are placing 50%+ extra focus on key investment areas such as 5G, containers, and cloud native. The research findings among these leaders indicate that they understand the core technology components that will be vital for digital transformation. For these enterprises, executives are increasing spend in the following areas:

  • 5G projects: by 63% in China, 37% in the U.S.
  • Cloud-based application development: by 62% in China, 35% in the U.S.
  • AI: by 61% in China, 37% in U.S
  • Container-based development: by 56% in China, 38% in U.S.
  • IoT: by 60% in China, 33% in U.S.
  • Applications at the edge: by 57% in China, 25% in U.S.

As enterprises have had to implement changes to their business processes due to the pandemic, 98% in China and 90% in the U.S. note that their ability to meet customer demands has been impacted. Given recent needs, the interest in growing DevOps practices has risen across enterprises, with executives now placing more importance on DevOps (46% in U.S., 36% in China).

Regardless of region, most enterprises realize that the road ahead will be tough. Fifty percent of enterprises in the U.S. and 77% in China are seeing heavier workloads across their teams. They also anticipate the need to implement major initiatives such as accelerating new business models (83% in U.S., 89% in China) and building in more agile development (82% in U.S., 86% in China).

To tackle these challenges, there is a clear recognition among leaders that they will require transformative focus and skills. Therefore, in order to successfully lead a digital transformation, C-suite leaders and executives in DevOps/DevSecOps and IoT anticipate increased importance in their roles (ranging from 60%+ in the U.S. to 73%+ in China) as their businesses exit COVID-19.

As the world grapples with the disruption caused by COVID-19 and enterprises begin to understand major gaps and the resources required to deliver on customer needs, they must identify the right strategies and experts to help them accelerate a digital transformation and realize long-term success beyond the pandemic.

For information about Wind River’s efforts to support the battle against COVID-19.

HPE Technology and Finance Counter COVID-19 Impacts

  • Partners benefit from HPE Partner Ready revenue threshold suspension, accelerated liquidity for distributors, as well as virtual training, demonstrations and briefings
  • High-performance computing (HPC) is playing a leading role in our fight against COVID-19 to support the urgent need to find a vaccine that will save lives and reduce suffering worldwide.

I have already written about several companies pitching in to do what they can in support of people and companies impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any glance at the history of pandemics and plagues of the past compared to today unveils just how advanced we have become in corporate research and response to this easily communicable virus infection.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has actively responded within its scope to contribute to the cause.

The first announcement I received related to dedicated relief initiatives for partners in support of business continuity in the wake of COVID-19.

These new interim initiatives have been specifically designed to relieve financial pressure on HPE partners and assist with business continuity planning. They join a number of new financial relief programs offered by HPE Financial Services as part of a $2 billion allocation to help customers and partners.

“Our partners are at the core of HPE, so when they are facing potential challenges, it’s our duty to step up and be a pillar of support,” said Paul Hunter, HPE Worldwide Head of Partner Sales. “Whether it’s helping them drive business as usual, relieve financial pressure, or simply giving them peace of mind during this time, our aim is to have a thriving ecosystem better able to meet customer needs”

Financial and support initiatives available to HPE partners include:

Program Changes to Support Financial Planning

  • HPE Partner Ready Revenue Threshold Suspension – To provide stability for partners facing financial uncertainty, HPE has suspended the revenue targets required for partners to maintain their status in the HPE Hybrid IT Partner Ready program for 2021 eligibility, as well as the Aruba Partner Ready for Networking Program. During 2020, both of these programs will focus on enabling partners and helping them meet training and certification goals.


Providing Buying Partners with Liquidity

  • Improvement in Early Pay Discount Terms – To alleviate COVID-related liquidity pressures, from May 1 until July 31, 2020 distributors and service providers in North America that do not participate in factoring programs can take advantage of extended Early Pay Discount terms to improve their working capital and cash positions.
  • Improvement in Factoring Terms – Within the same timeframe, HPE will extend payment terms from 60 to 90 days in North America and Europe for participants in existing enhanced factoring programs.
  • Suspending SDI Targets – To improve predictability of earnings, HPE has temporarily suspended or significantly reduced Strategic Development Initiative (SDI) targets in most geographies, thus providing a pay-out for distributors from $1 at or near the full percentage rebate target.

Hybrid IT Partner Propositions for Customers

  • Free Remote Server Management – For the remainder of 2020, HPE will offer its remote server management software Integrated Lights-Out (iLo) Advanced to partners and customers free of charge, enabling users to configure, monitor and update HPE servers seamlessly from anywhere, with minimal resources.
  • New Cloud28+ Spotlight Page – Today, HPE is working to support our service provider partners’ efforts by offering increased business continuity services to customers via a central Spotlight Page hosted on Cloud28+. This new site provides customers with a means to quickly find the right HPE partner and cloud services capable of supporting their needs. Business continuity services could include, but are not limited to, remote working solutions, extra IT capacity, connectivity, and/or any other complementary offerings.
  • Fast-tracked HPE GreenLake Options – Partners can leverage HPE GreenLake Quick Quote and targeted mid-market offers to rapidly respond to customer business challenges such as cash preservation and planning for unpredictable IT needs. HPE has developed additional pre-configured reference architectures at pre-agreed pricing that speed time to implementation.

Continuing Partner Enablement with Virtual Solutions

To support partners’ continued learning, HPE is introducing the HPE Sales Pro Learning Center in May, a new sales enablement experience with trainings and micro-learnings, helping sales leaders develop the sophisticated skills needed to sell consumption propositions and solutions.

Partners also benefit from HPE’s newly developed, industry-first practical exam methodology – an innovative virtual delivery that won this year’s IT Certification Council Innovation Award. Moreover, partners can continue to participate in HPE events that have been converted into virtual experiences. Moving forward, as announced by Antonio Neri, HPE Discover 2020 and HPE Partner Growth Summit (PGS) will convert from an in-person event to HPE Discover 2020 Digital Experience on June 22, with a global audience.

Virtual demonstrations and Proofs of Concept are now possible via the no-cost, self-serve Demonstration Portal – including a number of short, pre-recorded lab demos for partners and customers – and virtual tours of the HPE Briefing Centers.

Covid research

Accelerating vaccine research for COVID-19 with high-performance computing and artificial intelligence

High-performance computing (HPC) is playing a leading role in our fight against COVID-19 to support the urgent need to find a vaccine that will save lives and reduce suffering worldwide.

Scientists in labs around the globe rely on the massive computing power of HPC and supercomputers to run complex mathematical models, which transform vast volumes of evolving COVID-19 data into simulations of biological and chemical processes. These simulations advance our understanding of the new strain of virus and the complex interactions of the human body down to the molecular level, to accelerate the development of new treatments and preventative measures.

By combining modeling and simulation capabilities with new techniques in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, these simulations are now becoming even more accurate. That is why through our collaborations with worldwide leading research centers that are using our HPC and AI solutions, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and the HPC industry are supporting scientists tackling complex research that will unlock insights and bring us closer to drug discovery.

These initiatives, which represent both public and private sector investments, are driven by a global network of scientists, researchers, AI and supercomputing specialists, who in many cases are working together to share data, collaborate, and make vital contributions in the overall effort.

HPE is proud to play a leading role in supporting many of these initiatives with HPE HPC systems and expertise. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) together with GENCI, the French national infrastructure for HPC resources and facilities, are using HPC and AI to speed up discovery of antibody and drug candidates that can be tested for new vaccine treatments.

Each of these research teams are separately applying AI and machine learning to modeling and simulation to increase accuracy and predictions – something we describe as the emerging convergence of modeling and simulation with AI and analytics. These efforts further accelerate discovery of new antibodies, which are blood proteins produced to fight toxins or other foreign substances that induce immune response, or potential drug candidates based on existing catalogs of data. Researchers are then able to test these for potential countermeasures to the virus that can be developed into drug therapies.

Argonne researchers apply AI-enabled modeling and simulation to significantly speed discovery of antiviral agents

At the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, researchers have taken on a mission to dramatically accelerate the pace in discovering antiviral agents to counterattack the new virus, reducing the potential timeframe from years to just couple of months.

Researchers are using the Theta supercomputer, powered by HPE, and housed at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to accelerate the process of simulating billions of different small molecules from a publicly available database of drug candidates. The goal is to improve predictions on how molecules in drug candidates interact with each other and bind to viral proteins. Successful binding means these drug candidates can be used for further testing for a vaccine treatment.

LLNL uses a first-of-its-kind AI-driven modeling platform to design 20 initial antibody candidates among 1040 possibilities

LLNL has already made significant progress narrowing down the number of potential antibody candidates from 1040 to an initial set of just 20!  That’s a dramatic process of elimination. On top of that, this inspiring breakthrough was achieved in just weeks, compared to a typical lead time of years using other approaches.

LLNL’s COVID-19 response team, which includes researchers from various disciplines with deep expertise in vaccine and countermeasure development, used LLNL’s Catalyst, an HPC cluster powered by HPE, to improve predictions and speed up this discovery process by using a first-of-its-kind modeling platform. The platform integrates important components to generate high-quality predictions, such as experimental data and structural biology data, with bioinformatics modeling, molecular simulations and machine learning algorithms.

CNRS and GENCI offer a faster approach to perform molecular dynamics simulations

Similarly, GENCI, together with CNRS, has extended its Jean Zay supercomputer, which is installed in IDRIS, one of CNRS’ data centers, to power converged modeling, simulation, AI and machine learning workloads, to a number of research centers also focused on increasing accuracy and outcomes of antibodies. GENCI’s Jean Zay was designed by HPE in direct response to President Emmanuel Macron’s significant AI initiative to propel France’s R&D in AI with a new supercomputer.
We are extending our HPC efforts to address COVID-19 research on a greater, national scale by recently partnering with the White House as part of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing consortium.

Industrial Products and Services News Briefs

We might be on various types of stay-at-home orders globally, but companies continued to churn out new products and services for the industrial market. These cover the month of April. I’ve gotten behind, there has been so much coming out. These all deserve some time.

In this post:

  • ABB Launches Augmented Field Procedures
  • OPC Foundation Announces North American Director
  • Zebra Technologies Unveiled Results of a Field Service Study
  • Swift Sensors Releases Water-Resistant Power over Ethernet Bridge
  • Aveva Partners For Micro-Learning Service

ABB Ability Augmented Field Procedures

ABB has developed an augmenting technology aimed at digitalizing the field operator experience and improving interaction between field and control room operations.

ABB Ability Augmented Field Procedures will enable consistency when executing manual procedures, standardizing operating procedures and maintenance or repair techniques in the field, tightening field to control room integration and digitally recording notes to ensure operational knowledge is captured and utilized.

Unlike traditional paper-based operating procedures, the technology enables interactive execution of procedures using a mobile device to guide operators through each step in a consistent, effective, and safe way.

Operatives will be able to access hands-free, real-time data related to plant assets, processes or procedures using industrial tablets, smart phones and Microsoft HoloLens glasses, increasing real-time collaboration and enabling immediate data entry from the user interface in the field.

Created in collaboration with industry majors, the system can be used in any industrial environment, in greenfield and brownfield sites, for start-up, routine maintenance, and shutdown activities.

OPC Foundation Appoints Director of OPC North America

Michael Clark has been appointed Director of OPC Foundation North America. Clark will support OPC North American membership and function as a spokesperson for the Foundation throughout the region.

Looking for someone who can expand penetration into the process market, Clark is internationally recognized in the process automation sector for his expertise in Industrial Control System (ICS) fieldbus protocols. He also has been a contributor to the Open Process Automation Standard (OPAS) since its inception. He was Founding Director of BusCorp Inc., a Canadian-based consulting firm dedicated to design, implementation, commissioning, and training in the competencies of ICS networks and fieldbus systems. He has supported industrial sectors across the globe including, refining & upgrading, chemicals, food & beverage, gas exploration, offshore production, water & waste-water treatment, power generation, and nuclear remediation.

Zebra Technologies Studied Field Service Providers

Zebra Technologies Corporation  announced study findings that reveal field service providers in the telecommunications and technical industries globally will increase the use of mobile technologies to optimize and transform workflows in the field.

The number of organizations that will implement predictive solutions as part of their mobile strategies is set to double in five years, according to respondents to Zebra’s three-part Future of Field Operations vision study on the telecommunications, manufacturing, construction, mining, and agriculture industries. Today, just 16 percent of organizations use predictive solutions to assign the right resource to the right task at the right time with the use of mobile devices, and this will jump to 32 percent by 2025.

“With increased focus on streamlining workflows and getting tasks done right the first time, service providers in the telecommunications and technical industries are increasingly equipping their front-line workers with mobile technologies such as rugged tabletsmobile printers and handheld mobile computers,” said Alex Cooper, Director of Government and Critical Field Service Strategy, Zebra Technologies. “Faster mobile connectivity, combined with purpose-built rugged devices and advanced applications, will enable enterprises to keep essential services uninterrupted, safe, and efficient.”

In the study, 76 percent of respondents from service providers say their field operation strategies now focus on mobile devices instead of desktops, especially with 86 percent agreeing that the availability of faster 4G and 5G networks will drive greater investments in new field operations technologies. The use of mobile devices will quickly boost productivity with 87 percent in the study indicating that they expect to see positive impact within the next year.

While the study indicates email (62 percent), real-time database access (60 percent) and dispatch management (57 percent) are ranked as today’s three most important applications, about nine in ten service providers plan to expand their use of remote monitoring and reporting as well as advanced analytics and machine learning as part of their mobile strategies over the next five years.

Swift Sensors Adds Water-Resistant Power Over Ethernet Bridge

Swift Sensors Inc., a supplier of plug-and-play cloud-based wireless sensor systems for Industrial IoT, has released a water-resistant Power over Ethernet (PoE) bridge for use in manufacturing plants, restaurants, and other spaces where water, cleaning solutions, and other chemicals come into contact with monitoring equipment.

“Many of our industrial customers have requested a water-resistant PoE bridge, specifically for use in wet and harsh environments,” said Ray Almgren, COO of Swift Sensors. “Our new bridge delivers a ruggedized and cost-effective IoT networking solution for applications such as industrial manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, wastewater treatment facilities, refineries and restaurants.”

The Swift Sensors PoE Standard Bridge 1011 is built to withstand washdown procedures and exposure to chemicals. Key features include: 

  • an IP54-rated dust- and water-resistant enclosure to protect against ingress from all directions.
  • a space-saving, mountable design and form factor used in Swift Sensors 1020 and 1030 bridges.
  • a single cable for power and ethernet to eliminate the need for additional hardwiring and to ensure a consistent power supply.
  • Compliant with Active 802.3af and 802.3at PoE standards for use in PoE systems.
  • 256-bit AES enterprise encryption to deliver the same level of security found in all Swift Sensors bridges.

AI-powered Microlearning

AVEVA announced that it has strategically partnered with Axonify to offer adaptive AI- microlearning as part of AVEVA Unified Learning.

This strategic partnership with Axonify makes AVEVA the first leading digitalization company to deliver microlearning solutions for industrial operations staff. This is part of an overarching framework designed to help companies build competence, improve worker performance and drive behavioral change. The training program drives measurable outcomes for organizational competency needs, all enabled by three key aspects:

  • A single integrated platform from one vendor encompassing simulation for training with rich extended reality capabilities, and tools for designing learning and development programs
  • Flexible deployment enabling customers to choose cloud, hybrid, or on-premises implementation.
  • Harnessing of AI to fill knowledge gaps with personalized training.

Burke Named Global Strategic Advisor to CLPA

CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA, Nagoya, Japan) has named Thomas Burke to the new position of Global Strategic Advisor position. Burke founded and led the OPC Foundation to successful industry adoption until late last year. He concurrently holds the roles of Global Director of Industry Standards for Mitsubishi and Director of Strategic Marketing for Iconics.

CLPA promotes the widespread usage of the CC-Link open industrial network family.

Burke’s role is to accelerate the construction of Smart Factories by increasing the reach of CC-Link IE TSN.

CC-Link IE TSN combines the gigabit bandwidth of CC-Link IE with Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) to meet future automation market demands, such as Industry 4.0. This provides flexible integration of Operational Technology (OT) and IT while further strengthening performance and functionality. A comprehensive portfolio of device development options is also ensuring that any vendor can easily add this technology to their product line-up.

The aim is to improve efficiency and reduce time to market for Smart Factories utilizing the IIoT and the products they manufacture. As of April 2020, a year and a half after the announcement of the CC-Link IE TSN specifications, more than 100 partner products have been released or are under development.

Burke’s primary responsibilities include:

  1. Increasing awareness and adoption of CC-Link IE TSN in the global marketplace;
  2. Advising CLPA leadership on industry trends, standards, and market strategy;
  3. Sustaining and increasing the number of CLPA partners from North America;
  4. Facilitating collaboration with suppliers and end-users to maintain CLPA’s industry leading position;
  5. Collaboration with other industry standards organizations, focusing on harmonization across industry-standard organizations.

CC-Link Partner Association (CLPA) is an international organization founded in 2000 dedicated to the technical development and promotion of the CC-Link open industrial network family. The CLPA’s key technology is CC-Link IE TSN, the world’s first open industrial Ethernet to combine gigabit bandwidth with Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN).

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